Kaiden was the 2017 KidsAbility Ambassador and is a gentle, sweet, happy 4-year-old little boy. His smile lights up a room, and his giggle is contagious.
Kaiden suffered from West Syndrome as an infant, leaving him with global developmental delays and low muscle tone. With medication, treatment and therapy, he was doing well.
In October 2017, he started having chronic seizures. They are related to his sleep, 99% of his seizures happen in the middle of the night.
On January 2, 2018 Kaiden started having a seizure and, just as with most of his seizures, he was silent. His seizure didn’t stop on its own and wouldn’t stop with medication. Kaiden ended up on a ventilator and airlifted to McMaster Children’s Hospital.
He experienced status epilepticus, and now that he has, he is at a great risk of experiencing it again. It is dangerous and life threatening. Because Kaiden’s seizures are silent and because none of the seizure alarms available will properly detect all his seizures, one of his parents must be awake all the time to monitor him and make sure he doesn’t go into status epilepticus again.
His dad stays awake all night to watch Kaiden on the baby monitor, while his mother, is his full-time caretaker during the day. On average Kaiden has anywhere from 2 to 6 seizures a week, sometimes up to 3 in one night, but the timing is always unpredictable, leaving his parents feeling constantly on edge and unable to relax.
Kaiden is such a beautiful and strong little boy. He is a hero to so many people. His strength and determination are amazing. Through a realtor friend the family has been blessed to acquire a Waterloo home to renovate to accommodate Kaiden’s special mobility needs.
Thanks to the help of Mike Jennings’ contacts at Cambridge Elevating, an elevator has been installed in their home that will allow Kaiden to navigate the three stories safely and relieve the parents from having to carry this growing 4-year-old up and down stairs daily.
The Funding Process
After becoming aware of Kaiden’s family’s plight Jamie Hamilton, the president of Cambridge Elevating committed to donating in time, labour and materials one third of the cost of the elevator and installation. This amounted to $10,000 towards the total project cost of $30,000.
With this contribution Mike Jennings, the president of the Rotary Club of Cambridge North went to work to raise the balance of the money needed to pay for the elevator.
The board of the Cambridge North Club unanimously supported a donation of $5000 to get the ball rolling. Then Mike reached out directly to the Rotary Clubs in Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo.
Over the months of January through June 2019 the following clubs donated $2000 each:
- Cambridge Sunrise
- Preston Hespeler
- Kitchener Grand River
- Kitchener Conestoga
Finally, representatives from the above clubs gathered to see the finished elevator and meet Kaiden and his parents Joe and Melissa in person.
Thank you to all the club presidents for their championing of this important initiative.
On a hot summer night in 2019, the members of Cambridge North Rotary Club and their spouses gathered at the home of Mike and Susan Jennings, who were gracious hosts. We imbibed various varieties of beverages, and took in a great BBQ, all as organized by Larry and Anita Olney. The members then retired indoors for some formal celebrations. First, we recognized those members having perfect Rotary attendance for differing numbers of years (Laureen VanGroningen – 1 year; Mike Jennings – 2 Years; Al Fox – 20 years; and Peter Ashenhurst – 33 years!). Next, President Mike Jennings declared Stephen Witteveen to be the 2018-2019 Rotarian of Year. Finally, a Paul Harris Fellow was awarded by the club to each of Peter Ashenhurst and Michael Jennings, along with a presentation by David Mitten. Named after the founder of Rotary, a Paul Harris Fellow is Rotary’s highest recognition, and our club’s tradition is to award a “Paul Harris Fellow” as recognition for service to Rotary above and beyond the call to duty. Our club has given out 56 such awards over its 45 years. The formal ceremonies concluded with the presentation of the President’s Pin to our new president, Laureen VanGroningen, and the presentation of the Past-President’s Pin to Mike Jennings, along with a gift for Mike’s years of service as President of our club. We then recognized our hosts and the Olneys for the success of the evening. Great fellowship and good times!
On April 16th, 2019 the Rotary Club of Cambridge North was proud to present a cheque for $5000 to Bill Davidson, the Director of Langs Community Centre to help with development of their family Hub. The funds were raised by the club in partnership with the Cambridge Bingo & Gaming Centre.
From left to right Mike Bernard, Club President Mike Jennings, Incoming President Laureen Van Groningen, Bill Davidson (Langs), Gerry Menezes, Bingo Chair and Larry Olney.
The Rotary Club of Cambridge North held their 26th Annual Golf Classic on Tuesday September 11, 2018.
Weather was perfect for a fun day of golf followed by a delicious steak dinner at the Galt Country Club. Thank you to the many companies that supported our event with donation of prizes and silent auction items.
Lunch was provided by Larry and Anita Olney featuring A&W Burgers.
The Kinder Law office provided the putting contest prize. Also a big thank you to our major Sponsor Graham Mathews Accounting and RBC Dominion Securities – Ken Denholm, who have repeatedly stepped up to support the efforts of our club.
Thanks also to the many hole sponsors listed below for their generous support.
Cambridge Insurance Brokers
Grand Valley Construction Assoc.
Moffat and Powell
The tournament was a tremendous success raising in excess of $13,000 for local charities this year.
On Saturday June 23rd at the Toronto Yacht Club on Toronto Island the District 7080 Change Over took place as part of the Rotary International Conference.
Cambridge North Members Jeff Matyas with partner Tim Tanz and Pip and Dave Mitten, on their way to the yacht club.
CNR Club President receives Rotary Foundation Sustaining Club banners for our ongoing donations; presented by District Governor Kathi Dick and MC Timothy Whitehead.
President Mike at the RI Conference entrance!
Dean and Carmela Fitzgerald.
Wrap Up BBQ 2018 at Don Daggett's House!
The Daggett estate is a beautiful setting for a Bar-B-Q! Fine weather, great food and cheerful people combined to make for a memorable evening.
Forty attended. Contributions of appetisers, salads and desserts flowed-in. Lindsay Mitten and Mike Jennings cooked steak and chicken. Don Daggett baked potatoes. Larry Olney provided our social lubricant. Kelly Thomas created a Paul Harris slide show, which Dave Mitten narrated.
President Mike spoke and recognized:
- Laureen Van Groningen was chosen Rotarian of the Year.
- Dave Thomas received a Paul Harris Fellow.
- Outgoing board members Al Fox, Paul Witmer and Stan Jones received thank you gifts from President Mike
- Kathi Dick received a plaque in recognition of her almost completed year as 7080 District Governor. Kathi is the first Cambridge North Rotarian to serve as District Governor and a fine job she did (with a little help from Timothy).
Fortunately, we are in for another year of excellent leadership from Mike Jennings, who has done and will continue to do I’m sure, a first-class job as President. Laureen Van Groningen follows Mike as President beginning July 2019.
Kathi Dick was recognized for her year as District 7080 Governor.
Laureen Van Groningen is presented with the Rotarian of the Year Award by President Mike
Club treasurer Dave Thomas is honoured with his first Paul Harris Fellowship!
Rotary Classic Superhero Run 2018 in Support of KidsAbility!
Jeff Matyas, Batman, Gerry Menezes, Paul Goetz stand on guard for the Superhero Run!
Batman with CNR President Mike Jennings
Even the Cape Crusader needs stress release!
Batman poses with Elliott & Miles our KidsAbility ambassadors for 2018
Holy licensing conflict Batman; DC and Marvel’s Spiderman and Captain America pose for our protection!
The Rotary Clubs of Cambridge were pleased to present KidsAbility with a cheque for the proceeds of this year’s Super Hero Run. The three clubs raised over $36,000 at the event held at the end of May. The presentation included from left to right: Lisa Talbot, Executive Director (KidsAbility Foundation), Melissa Kuntz (mom), Kaiden (KidsAbility Ambassador), Mike Jennings (President of Cambridge North Rotary Club), Kristen Danson (Chair of the Super Hero Run), Jim McPherson (President of Preston-Hespeler Rotary Club), Kathi Dick (District Governor Rotary 7080). Absent: Mike Laurie (President of Cambridge Sunrise Rotary Club)
Melissa Kuntz, the mother of Kaiden, this year’s KidsAbility Ambassador gave a moving talk about the powerful impact that KidsAbility has on their lives and how the funds raised by Rotary make the critical programs provided by KidsAbility possible.